The study has shown that jaws grew shorter and broader as humans took on a more pastoral lifestyle. Before this, developing mandibles were probably strengthened to give hunter-gatherers greater bite force. The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Many scientists have suggested that the range of skull shapes that exist within our species is the result of exposure to different climates, while others have argued that chance played more of a role in creating the diversity we see in people’s profiles.
The new data, collected from over 300 skulls, across 11 populations, shows that jaws shortened and widened as humans moved from hunting and gathering to a more sedentary way of life.